WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Jera Trading Pte Ltd. v. Shen Zhong Chao
Case No. D2019-0352
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Jera Trading Pte Ltd. of Singapore, represented by Rajah & Tann Singapore LLP, Singapore.
The Respondent is Shen Zhong Chao of Beijing, China.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <jeraglobalmarkets.com> is registered with Alibaba Cloud Computing (Beijing) Co., Ltd. (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed in English with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on February 15, 2019. On February 15, 2019, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On February 18, 2019, the Registrar transmitted by email to the Center its verification response disclosing registrant and contact information for the disputed domain name which differed from the named Respondent and contact information in the Complaint. The Center sent an email communication to the Complainant on February 22, 2019 providing the registrant and contact information disclosed by the Registrar, and inviting the Complainant to submit an amendment to the Complaint. The Complainant filed an amended Complaint on February 27, 2019.
On February 22, 2019, the Center transmitted an email in English and Chinese to the Parties regarding the language of the proceeding. The Complainant requested that English be the language of the proceeding on February 24, 2019. The Respondent did not comment on the language of the proceeding.
The Center verified that the Complaint together with the amended Complaint satisfied the formal requirements of the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the “Policy” or “UDRP”), the Rules for Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the “Rules”), and the WIPO Supplemental Rules for Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the “Supplemental Rules”).
In accordance with the Rules, paragraphs 2 and 4, the Center formally notified the Respondent in English and Chinese of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on March 1, 2019. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was March 21, 2019. The Respondent sent an email communication on February 18, 2019 regarding the proceeding. The Respondent did not submit any formal response. The Center notified the Parties of Commencement of Panel Appointment Process on March 22, 2019.
The Center appointed Deanna Wong Wai Man as the sole panelist in this matter on March 29, 2019. The Panel finds that it was properly constituted. The Panel has submitted the Statement of Acceptance and Declaration of Impartiality and Independence, as required by the Center to ensure compliance with the Rules, paragraph 7.
4. Factual Background
In its Complaint, the Complainant adduces several trademarks (both word and device marks) protecting the sign JERA (and JERA TRADING SINGAPORE), registered in a number of countries, e.g. International trademark registration number 1270928, designating China and registered on July 22, 2015 by JERA Co., Inc.. The Complainant also owns a portfolio of domain names, including <jera.co.jp> and <jeraglobalmarket.com>. The Respondent registered the disputed domain name on July 3, 2018. Upon the Panel’s review, on the date of submission of the Complaint, the disputed domain name was linked to an active website, which offered the disputed domain name for sale. The website remains unchanged on the date of this Decision.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant is a company established in 2015 and is active in the energy sector. The Complainant claims to enjoy, together with its group companies, a worldwide reputation as the world’s leading buyer of liquified natural gas. The Complainant essentially contends that the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to its trademarks for JERA, that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name, and that the disputed domain name was registered, and is being used in bad faith.
The Respondent’s contentions are limited to its brief emailed questions, dated February 18, 2019, regarding the state of the procedure and the possibility of a settlement. The Respondent did not reply to the Center’s invitation to request a suspension for settlement negotiations, sent via email on February 23, 2019. The Panel also notes that the Respondent did not comment on the language of the procedure and did not submit any arguments on the merits of this case.
6. Discussion and Findings
6.1. Preliminary Issue: Language of proceedings
Pursuant to paragraph 11(a) of the Rules, the language of the administrative proceeding shall be the language of the Registration Agreement, subject to authority of the Panel to determine otherwise, having regard to the circumstances of the administrative proceeding.
The Complainant states that, to the best of its knowledge, the language of the Registration Agreement is Chinese. The Complainant filed both its Complaint and its amended Complaint in English, each time including a motivated request that the language of proceedings be English. The Respondent, did not make any comments on the language of the procedure and did not submit any arguments on the merits.
The Panel has carefully considered all elements of this case, in particular, the Complainant’s request that the language of proceedings be English; the fact that the Respondent did not comment on the language of the procedure and did not submit arguments on the merits (while it had the right to do so in Chinese or English); the fact that the text on the website linked to the disputed domain name is mostly bilingual Chinese-English, as well as the fact that the Respondent sent an email regarding this procedure in English, on February 18, 2019, from which the Panel deducts that the Respondent understands, and is able to communicate in English; and the fact that Chinese as the language of proceedings could lead to unwarranted delay and costs for the Complainant. In view of all these elements, the Panel rules that the language of proceedings shall be English.
6.2. Discussion and Findings on the merits
The Policy requires the Complainant to prove three elements:
(i) the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights;
(ii) the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name; and
(iii) the disputed domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
Based on the evidence and arguments submitted, the Panel's findings are as follows:
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Panel finds that the Complainant has provided sufficient evidence that it has valid rights in the sign JERA based on its parent company’s registration and its use of the same as a trademark, incidentally commencing prior to the registration of the disputed domain name. See in this regard WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition (the “WIPO Overview 3.0”), section 1.4: “A trademark owner’s affiliate such as a subsidiary of a parent or of a holding company, or an exclusive trademark licensee, is considered to have rights in a trademark under the UDRP for purposes of standing to file a complaint.”
Moreover, as to identity or confusing similarity, the disputed domain name consists of the Complainant’s JERA trademark in full, followed by the words “globalmarkets”, which are merely descriptive. According to the WIPO Overview 3.0, section 1.7, “in cases where a domain name incorporates the entirety of a trademark, or where at least a dominant feature of the relevant mark is recognizable in the domain name, the domain name will normally be considered confusingly similar to that mark for purposes of UDRP standing”. The Panel concludes that the disputed domain name contains the entirety of the Complainant’s trademark, as its sole distinctive and dominant feature. The addition of two descriptive words does not prevent a finding of confusing similarity. Accordingly, the Panel rules that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademarks, and the first element required by the Policy is fulfilled.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Complainant has demonstrated that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. The Panel notes that the Respondent is not a licensee or an authorized reseller, service provider or distributor, and is not making legitimate noncommercial use or fair use of the Complainant's trademarks. The Panel therefore considers that none of the circumstances of legitimate interests envisaged by paragraph 4(c) of the Policy apply (see also Oki Data Americas, Inc. v. ASD, Inc., WIPO Case No. D2001-0903). The Panel also notes that no evidence or arguments have been submitted by the Respondent in reply. The Panel therefore rules that the Complainant has satisfied the requirements of the second element under the Policy.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The registration of the disputed domain name, which incorporates the Complainant’s trademarks in their entirety, as its only distinctive feature, is clearly intended to profit from, or exploit the Complainant’s trademarks and mislead and divert consumers to the disputed domain name. Even a cursory Internet search at the time of registration of the disputed domain name would have made it clear to the Respondent that the Complainant owned, and owns, trademarks in JERA and uses these marks actively, including in the Respondent’s home jurisdiction China. Moreover, the Complainant adduces evidence from which it appears that the disputed domain name was registered on the very same day in which the Complainant had announced by way of a press release that it intended to change its corporate name to “JERA GLOBAL MARKETS”. In the Panel’s view, this clearly indicates bad faith registration of the Respondent, and the Panel therefore rules that it has been demonstrated that the Respondent registered the disputed domain name in bad faith.
As to use of the disputed domain name in bad faith, the Complainant provides evidence that the website linked to the disputed domain name states in both Chinese and English: “您正在访问的域名可以转让出售！ the domain is for sale!” (and further provides contact information of the seller in Chinese). In this regard, paragraph 4(b) of the Policy states that registering a domain name “primarily for the purpose of selling, renting, or otherwise transferring the domain name to the complainant who is the owner of the trademark or service mark or to a competitor of that complainant, for valuable consideration in excess of the respondent’s documented out-of-pocket costs directly related to the domain name” constitutes evidence of bad faith. The Panel notes that apart from the sales offer, there is no genuine content on the website linked to the disputed domain name, and that the only apparent intention of the Respondent is therefore to make a profit though the sale of the disputed domain name. The Panel therefore rules that it has been demonstrated that the Respondent has used, and is using the disputed domain names in bad faith.
Finally, the Respondent has failed to provide any response or evidence to establish its good faith or absence of bad faith. The Panel therefore rules that the Complainant has satisfied the requirements of the third element under the Policy.
For the foregoing reasons, in accordance with paragraphs 4(i) of the Policy and 15 of the Rules, the Panel orders that the disputed domain name <jeraglobalmarkets.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Deanna Wong Wai Man
Date: April 8, 2019